ASIC, training providers drop the ball on licensing
In the lead up to the accountants’ exemption phase-out, accountants are lacking guidance from ASIC on their new education requirements and are being misled by training providers on what their courses provide, according to one licensing consultancy.
Despite the accountants' exemption being phased out in June 2016, Licensing for Accountants chief executive Kath Bowler said the confusion around what training is required of accountants who apply for the limited licence remains a significant issue.
“With the limited licence, there are a number of different boxes that you can tick. So while a course may claim you can apply for the limited licence, it’s actually only limited licence boxes A and B – so it’s quite misleading out there,” said Ms Bowler.
“The training providers are misleading and the licences are misleading because they say they’re [offering] an accountant’s licence, but what does that mean?”
Ms Bowler also believes ASIC needs to provide further guidance on exactly what training accountants need to undertake to give which type of advice.
“There isn’t one neat in-the-box solution outlining that accountants need to get licensed they need to do this course and then they fill out this one application form – unfortunately, it’s not that simple,” she said.
CPA Australia's policy adviser for financial planning and external positioning, Keddie Waller, added that accountants should be cautious about where they choose to complete their training.
Some training providers offer “very short courses”, Ms Waller warned.
“If you want to run your own licence then you need to be equipped with the knowledge and skills to actually run your own licence and give advice under that licence,” she said.
“If you undertake a course that is quick and doesn’t go into any depth, then is it really going to deliver on any of those outcomes?”
She advised accountants to conduct some research prior to beginning a course to ensure it will actually deliver on the things they are looking for.
“[These courses] may be quick, but that doesn’t mean they’re going to deliver on the outcomes you need to make sure you’re able to give appropriate and qualified advice,” Ms Waller said.
Miranda Brownlee is the deputy editor of SMSF Adviser, which is the leading source of news, strategy and educational content for professionals working in the SMSF sector.
Since joining the team in 2014, Miranda has been responsible for breaking some of the biggest superannuation stories in Australia, and has reported extensively on technical strategy and legislative updates. Miranda has also directed SMSF Adviser's print publication for several years.
Miranda also has broad business and financial services reporting experience, having written for titles including Investor Daily, ifa and Accountants Daily.